Graduation and Awards Ceremony 2020 – The World Awaits

More than 250 guests – including graduates, family, faculty, staff, and alumni — attended the Azrieli School’s first online Graduation and Awards Ceremony on June 22.










Prof. Janine Debanné, who organized the Zoom event, strove to recreate the atmosphere of this landmark day with bagpipe music, speeches, awards presentations, and a slide show.

The ceremony recognized 87 Bachelor of Architectural Studies graduates and 47 Master of Architecture graduates.










Convocation opened with images of Building 22,  the Canadian Scottish Regiment Pipe & Drums playing Pipe Major Sam Scott and Donald MacLean of Lewis, and a welcome from Prof. Debanné.



Director Jill Stoner gave her address in the form of a poem she had written. It opens “The world awaits, it needs you now, not when” and alludes to the world which students can change. “This is a commencement, not an end.”







Read the poem: The World Awaits

Robert Forest, a 1992 graduate, who designs some of the world’s tallest buildings, urged graduating students to chase opportunities and be ready to apply their skills and imagination to the unpredictable openings that will come. His career included being a professional football player and practicing architecture around the world.

Read more: Robert Forest Speech



Alumna Nicole Moyo, now an urban designer in Toronto, noted that this is the first class to graduate online and encouraged students to contribute to the future of our cities.

She reminded graduates that they have attended one of the best design schools in the world, and fondly remembered her time as a student able to “explore a rainbow of ideas” and noting the thick skin which results from critical discussion.

Nicole’s remarks: Nicole Moyo Speech




Awards were presented by then-Associate Director for Graduate Studies Ozayr Saloojee,Janine Debanné, then-Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies, Federica Goffi, co-chair of the PhD and MAS programs, and Prof. Manuel Baez.

The following awards were given to Master of Architecture graduates:

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Medal, the school’s top award given for the highest level of academic excellence: Scott Normand

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Honour Roll, for high academic averages: Katy Gillis, Christie Ellis Wong, Luke Rivet, Scott Normand






American Institute of Architects Henry Adams Certificate of Merit and Medal, for the second-highest academic average: Natasha Basir


MArch Leadership Excellence Award, for demonstrated, continued service excellence: Liane Lanzar


MArch Thesis Design Distinctions, for excellence in thesis design work: Maya Jarrah, Kareem Mitchell, Michael Yoshimura, Mackenzie Maclean, Luis Chung, Crystal Yung


The following awards were given to Bachelor of Architectural Studies graduates:

Ontario Association of Architects Silver Guild Award, for exceptional work, overall academic performance, and the highest academic average: Jonathan Caron (three other recipients will be recognized in the fall)


OAA Award for Fourth Year for the highest overall grade: Jonathan Caron (three other recipients will be recognized in the fall)

Nicholas Scolozzi Award for outstanding performance in fourth-year: Petros Kapetanakis, Elizabeth Farrell, Hilary Romaniuk, Sonia Mataj

CISC Excellence Award in Steel Design for exploring the use and design of steel in studio work: Patrick McGowan (MArch 1), Etienne Berube (MArch 1)




Ottawa Regional Society of Architects Award for service to the school: Hilary Romaniuk

The Jacques and Helene Sabourin Memorial Scholarship for proficiency in architectural lighting: Priyanka Shah (1 of 2 recipients)

Alpha Rho Chi for contribution to the community of students, staff, and faculty: Kim Langat

University Medal: Jonathan Caron

Senate Medals: Elizabeth Farrell, Petros Phiippos Kapetanakis, Jerry Yan-Yu Chow, Hilary Frances Romaniuk, Katherine Ashley Wilson, Sonia Mataj, Jillian Weinberger




Alumna Emmanuelle van Rutten,  an architect and regional director of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), welcomed students to the “broader architectural community.”

She encouraged them to become members of the RAIC, which has represented that community for more than 100 years.

Read Emmanuelle’s address: Emmanuelle Van Rutten Speech







Kathleen Kurtin, President of the Ontario Association of Architects, invited graduates to join the association, pursue internship and licensure, and contribute to the profession becoming more equitable and diverse.

About the uncertainties of starting a career at this time, she said: “An architectural education teaches us to embrace the unknown – and to look for solutions.”

Here’s her speech: Kathleen Kurtin Speech

Alumna Tamara Khou also spoke.







The school gives out several awards over the course of each academic year.  The following awards went to graduating students:


Marco Frascari Prize for hand-drawing: Mackenzie Mclean, Scott Normand,  Liane Lanzar


Azrieli Mini-Thesis for promising thesis work: Maya Jarrah, Michael Yoshimura, Kevin ComplidoMatt Beerman





Maxwell Taylor Scholarships for students in the graduate program who incorporated building technologies into their final projects: Jesse Bird, Brigitte Martins

The Director’s Project: Petros KapetanakisAngela ChiesaSarania Dabee


The Hobin Prize in Architecture

Adam Achtenberg and Gregorius Erico for their project titled BY45

Kim Langat and Ashlin Lithgow for their project titled Urban Theatre

Yoyo Tang and Laura Ye for their project titled Piazza

Federation of Chinese CPEF Award in Architecture: Arielle Lavine and Arslan Muhammad Abbas for their project titled Village 2.0






Ian Macdonald, an early graduate of the school distinguished by numerous awards for design, reflected on the importance of patience and of self-knowledge when building a practice as an architect. He spoke of the importance of working with others. “Architecture is a team sport – if there ever was one.”

During a musical interlude, slides of Ian’s work were set to You are the New Day – King’s Singers.

Read his tribute: Ian MacDonald Speech


Lyette Fortin, adjunct professor and conservation architect, warmly greeted the graduating class, telling them “the door is now wide open.”

She noted how much she admired students for their sensitivity for improving sustainability, social justice, personal wellbeing, and cultural communities.

For Lyette’s tribute: Lyette Fortin Speech

Other tributes were delivered by alumna Rebecca Fernando, Chilean architect Gonzalo Munoz Vera, and alumnus Paul Austerberry.







A retrospective slideshow featuring the graduating class was set to the following music:

Happiness (Dave Audé Club Mix) – Alexis Jordan

Stay right here Andy Huckvale








Years in the Making– Arkells

I Was Here – Beyoncé





Kim Langat, former president of the Azrieli Architecture Student Association, spoke. She reminded everyone of the support from teachers and the friendships that students enjoyed in school – beginning the day they all first set foot in the building “fresh out of our comfort zones” and into a new world of hot glue, foam-core, coffee, and Wallacks.”


Read her remarks: Kim Langat Speech


 After the formal program, many guests remained online to enjoy casual speeches and tributes and to share experiences and memories.